Skip to main content

Camera Working Group Banner


Jointly promoted by Khronos and the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA), the new Khronos Camera API Working Group is developing an open, royalty-free standard for controlling camera system runtimes in embedded, mobile, industrial, XR, automotive, and scientific markets

The Khronos Camera API Working Group is the result of an extensive exploratory process over seventy companies working together from March to December 2021 to forge a strong industry consensus on the need, terminology, scope, requirements, and design methodology for a new open standard camera system API. The results from this process arecaptured in the Scope Of Work document which will guide the direction of the working group.

The Camera API Working Group will start meetings in February 2022 to develop the API specification and its associated ecosystem. Participation can put your organization at the forefront of the development of the standard and is expected to be of particular interest to sensor or camera manufacturers, silicon vendors, and software developers working on vision and sensor processing. Find out more.

The Need for Embedded Camera API Standards

Cameras are increasingly critical in diverse markets, accelerating the development of sophisticated optical systems, image sensors and vision processors often utilizing machine learning technology. However, the lack of interoperable camera API standards increases application development time and maintenance costs while reducing portability and opportunity for code reuse, resulting in unnecessarily high integration costs for camera technologies.

Embedded vision systems are increasingly integrating camera sensors tightly with image, vision, and inferencing accelerators in self-contained systems. Embedded vision applications on these integrated systems often lack a pervasively available API to portably generate sensor streams for local accelerated processing.

Design Direction

The Camera API design will provide applications, libraries, and frameworks explicit control over camera runtimes, through a precisely defined interface that enables:

  • Cross-vendor portability of application code for easier system integration of new cameras and sensors
  • Preservation of application code across multiple generations of cameras and sensors
  • Sophisticated control over the generation of sensor streams to increase the effectiveness of downstream accelerated processing

The Road to Embedded Camera API Standardization

At the AutoSensONLINE 2021 event panellists from Khronos, EMVA, and other members of the Exploratory Group discussed how a consistent set of interoperability standards and guidelines for embedded cameras and sensors will help solve the problems impeding growth in advanced sensor deployment.

Watch the video

Industry Support for the Camera API

“The Embedded Camera API Exploratory Group followed the Khronos New Initiative Process with invaluable cooperation from the EMVA. Over seventy companies worked together from March to December 2021 to forge strong industry consensus on the need, terminology, scope, requirements, and design methodology for a new open standard camera system API. Now, we warmly invite any interested companies, vendors and developers to bring their voice and their expertise to the design phase of this important work. ”

Neil Trevett
Khronos president

“The close and productive collaboration between the EMVA and Khronos has been very effective in enabling a broader industry participation and diversity of perspectives at the Embedded Camera Exploratory Group than either organization could have achieved working alone. EMVA will continue to work closely with Khronos under our new liaison agreement to ensure that the interests of both the EMVA membership and the wider industry are represented at the new Camera API working group.”

Chris Yates
EMVA president

“The generic camera API will help Adimec to focus on our mission to deliver the right image in the right place at the right time, so our customers can focus on their imaging tasks. That is what we call ‘Excellence in Imaging’.”

The Adimec Team

“Lack of API standards for advanced use of embedded cameras and sensors is an impediment to industry growth, collaboration and innovation. Enterprise AR customers and systems integrators/value added providers will benefit from greater clarity, open interfaces between modular systems and innovation in the component provider ecosystem. This Khronos standard for camera and sensor control will increase opportunities for powerful new combinations of sensor and AR compute resources, integration with existing IT, and lower cost and complexity of future solutions. ”

“Open interface standards such as GenICam or GigE Vision have been a key element to establish a professional Machine Vision Market. Only by such standards we can ensure the interoperability of products from different vendors. It helped to shorten the development cycles of customers dramatically and also yields in a faster growing market. Therefore we strongly support the new open standard camera API initiative driven by Khronos and the EMVA. ”

Arndt Bake
CDO, Basler AG

“Over the past two decades, digital cameras used in embedded applications have changed dramatically. As video capture quality and processing power have increased, so has the potential for enhanced features which were unimaginable in early camera phones. The proliferation of features has resulted in a corresponding plethora of software support. The Embedded Camera Exploratory Group has laid the foundations for a consistent and extensible API to resolve this complexity; Digica is pleased to have contributed to this project and welcomes the development of the API under the new Working Group.”

Jim Carroll
CTO, Digica

“Due to high fragmentation and lack of standardization, the embedded camera space is subject to painful interoperability issues. Adding camera support in a product is complex and expensive, most often subject to vendor lock-in, when not practically impossible for small actors. Ideas on Board launched the libcamera project three years ago to address these issues in the Linux mobile, embedded and desktop ecosystems. We have contributed our experience to the Khronos Camera Exploratory Group, and are looking forward to continuing collaboration with the industry on a new open standard camera API.”

“Cameras are everywhere and in everything, the market and applications have exploded in the last ten years. But a cohesive set of standard APIs has been slow to emerge making incompatibility challenging. Khronos, in conjunction with the European Machine Vision Association, is going to correct that and has formed this Working Group to develop an open API for cameras. This will be welcome news to industry participants and users alike.”

“Existing standards, like GigE Vision and USB3 Vision, have proven that a standardization of software interfaces is beneficial for manufacturers and users. We believe that, in the rapidly changing world, Embedded Vision is significantly shaping the future of machine vision. A complementary standard for the embedded camera API is therefore important, and it makes camera control more reliable, hardware selection more flexible and shortens users' time-to-market.”

“A widely supported open standard camera API will spur innovation and reduce integration costs in multiple markets that use advanced sensors. NVIDIA has supported the work of the Exploratory Group and is committed to participating in the design work at this new Camera Working Group.”

“With the strong growth of camera applications in automotive, IoT, AR/VR devices, wearables and smartphones, there has been a strong demand for a standardized camera API in the industry. The standardized camera API that the Khronos group is working on will help facilitate the deployment of new cameras by reducing porting efforts, simplifying the procedures of camera upgrades, and improving the interoperability among various camera devices. This camera API standardization effort is very meaningful and will be highly influential to the related industry. We would like to see this standard API to be deployed soon.”

Weijin Dai
EVP, VeriSilicon

Background to EMVA and Khronos

The EMVA manages the GenICam standard for machine vision which is a widely used generic programming interface for industrial cameras that has become increasingly sophisticated as digital cameras integrate local processing capabilities. EMVA is also developing the emVision standard for embedded vision.

The Khronos Group is an open, non-profit, member-driven consortium of over 180 industry-leading companies creating advanced, royalty-free, interoperability standards for 3D graphics, augmented and virtual reality, parallel programming, vision acceleration and machine learning. Khronos activities include 3D Commerce™, ANARI™, glTF™, NNEF™, OpenCL™, OpenGL®, OpenGL® ES, OpenVG™, OpenVX™, OpenXR™, SPIR-V™, SYCL™, Vulkan®, and WebGL™. Khronos members drive the development and evolution of Khronos specifications and are able to accelerate the delivery of cutting-edge platforms and applications through early access to specification drafts and conformance tests.

Get Involved to Help Shape the Camera API

Any organization is welcome to join Khronos and participate in this global initiative under the consortium’s multi-company governance process that enables all stakeholders with a voice in consensus-based working group decisions. For more information on our standardization procedures and to join please visit the Khronos membership page or contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more details.